Why is it so easy to say “thank you” when someone lends us a hand, yet we avoid saying it when we receive a compliment? Instead of showing appreciation, we often deflect that gesture of gratitude.
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Using one button can immediately improve your workplace culture.
It is not new, but most people never use it. For years I have watched leaders send emails to their team throughout the evenings and weekends under false pretenses.
❌ “Don’t worry about reading my email until work tomorrow.”
❌ “No need to respond.”
But human nature says something different.
👎 The boss is emailing at 8:00 PM; I should also respond to show that I am working.
👎 My teammate just responded on Saturday morning while I know she is at her daughter’s soccer game; I need to prove that I am just as reliable.
👎 My team is six replies deep, and I have not even jumped into the conversation yet; I’ll make time to share my thoughts after the kids go to bed or tomorrow morning before church.
Most people you know are not capable of ignoring a work email from their boss during evenings or weekends. And even fewer people can sit back while an entire team hits “reply all” over and over to discuss something that “can wait until Monday morning.”
Do you want to prove that you respect your team’s personal lives and priorities outside of work?
It’s simple—one button.
If you are working into the night or over the weekend, delay the delivery of your emails until the next workday.
Tell your team that you are taking this new approach and request that they do the same.
If leaders take this approach, then they can hold everyone else to the same standard.
The floating anxiety of checking email during family time dissipates once this new norm is stated and followed.
In my case, I often work during off-hours.
I am up at 4:00 am each morning. After reflection, prayer, and coffee, I work for a few hours before my kids wake up. I am usually writing emails by 4:45 am.
I delay the delivery of those emails until 8:00 am.
The impact is immediate and palpable.
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One of my favorite things to witness as the leader of a business is the personal growth and development of the people around me. It is simply amazing to see what happens when leaders step out of the way and empower their employees to take risks and make things happen.
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Most people do not get excited about accountability.
When you see “accountability” listed as one of a company’s core values, what is your first reaction?
Accountability does not tug at the heartstrings or inspire bold action and innovation. Instead, accountability often sounds like a burden and a need for control. But alas, when positioned correctly, accountability is the master key that unlocks a more dynamic work, and appropriate risk-taking, and ultimately leads to greater freedom in the workplace.
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Sometime during the recent work-from-home transition, I came to view our unlimited time off policy differently. From the beginning of 5, we always took the approach that our employees were fully formed adults and therefore they could be trusted to manage their own time off without onerous rules and restrictions.
As early adopters of this approach, we proved skeptics wrong and found that our team members were enjoying the freedom afforded by this policy and owning the associated responsibility. 5ers were taking time off for vacations, showing up for their kids’ school events, weaving doctor visits and the occasional person needs into their workdays, and enjoying maternity and paternity leaves with the arrival of each new life. As a foundational part of our culture, unlimited time off was one of those perks that did not need regular attention.
Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. As our workforce transitioned to completely remote work, we started meeting over video in each other’s living rooms, kitchen tables, and home offices. As the pandemic progressed, we saw the emotional toll that this new way of work was having on our team members. Like countless other organizations, the line between work and home for many 5ers became blurred, which contributed to employee burnout.
When the line that divides home from work is porous, there is a temptation to keep working with an inability to know when to shut down for the evening. Even those who worked remotely before the pandemic would affirm that the lack of a daily commute makes it difficult to bring the workday to a natural conclusion. This work-from-home transition has forced us to question what taking time off really means, especially in a culture with an unlimited vacation policy. Similarly, many 5ers are also having to adjust their own understanding of what time off looks like when one predominantly works from home.
We have been asking ourselves many questions with this new working paradigm. Are employees really taking enough time off and shutting down when working from home? Would employees be more intentional about stepping away from work if there were a set number of vacation days that were allotted each year? Would there be any improvements in employee wellness if there were a mandatory minimum number of days off employees were required to take? Or would these minimums create a feeling of top-down control? There are no simple answers to these questions.
When we first created our unlimited time off policy, our intention was to create a program that recognized the employees’ individual needs and rewarded their efforts in whatever way worked best for them. Now we must ask ourselves if a policy change would help us to achieve the same result or if there will be a natural return to normal work and normal time off as the working world rebalances. Our premise that 5ers are fully formed adults and should be able to determine the amount of vacation time that is appropriate has not changed. However, the way we work today is very different from the way it was before the pandemic, and it makes sense to re-evaluate what time off really means. We encourage other organizations to do the same and make employee wellness and resiliency a top priority.
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The Conscious Evolution of Our Company Swag
With so many industry and company changes over the past decade, one aspect of 5 has remained the same – our love for this great team and our desire to share it.
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This month we are taking a break from sharing our own culture corner insights to spotlight the inspiring work of James Rhee and his TED Talk about The Value of Kindness at Work.
James recently appeared on Brene Brown’s "Dare to Lead" podcast and his fresh approach to goodwill encourages us all to find out how we can build great businesses with lots of little red helicopter moments.
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Time flies when you have great people like Julia Smith on the team, it's hard to believe her one-year anniversary is just weeks away.
Take a moment to learn more about Julia’s deregulated power journey and her fun nickname from her days as a collegiate soccer player.
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One of the most striking insights that I gained through the work-from-home shift of the last two years is realizing how many employees are engaged in caregiving for their loved ones on a regular basis. Even though this phenomenon existed long before the pandemic, we are now so comfortable sharing our cameras on video calls from home that we often end up sharing more about our daily struggles and needs as well.
When an employee is caring for a loved one, they often share the effects of caregiving, which include:
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A Special Opportunity for Texas Educators to Teach Sustainability
The feature-length documentary film, Beyond Zero, tells the story of Ray Anderson and his visionary leadership as the founder and CEO of Interface, a publicly-traded company in the carpet tile industry. In 1989, Ray had a conversion of heart and vowed to take Interface on a journey to become a sustainable enterprise in every way possible. He was ahead of his time in many ways and his heroic leadership is truly a model for companies that are aiming for true stakeholder impact. The best part about Beyond Zero is that it is not only inspirational and entertaining, but it also moves people into action.